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In today’s big-money video game industry, creators and publishers have become more concerned with crafting a player-friendly experience with unlimited continues, flexible checkpoints and difficulty sliders. However, this wasn’t always the case.

Back before developers realized it’s probably not a good idea to drive your customers insane, games used to be a constant barrage of cheap deaths, impossibly long password codes and many smashed controllers. If you are man enough to step up to the plate, the following titles represent the ultimate challenge in gaming. Every game on this list of the hardest video games of all time will push you to the limit, but if you are ready to prove your skill, go ahead and take these games head on! Just keep any and all sharp objects very far away….

NOTE: If you’re expecting to see Dark Souls in this list, then you’re gonna be a bit disappointed…

F-Zero GX

Probably one of the coolest racing game I’ve ever played, F-Zero GX was a game released on the nintendo gamecube. If road rage is a common occurrence for you when you drive, stay very far away from F-Zero GX. While this game is probably the best entry in Nintendo’s futuristic racing series, it is also by far the hardest. Attempting to take on the Black Shadow in GX’s Story Mode on “hard” is just asking to have your day ruined.

As if racing around a track at breakneck speed with opponents trying to check you at every turn wasn’t tough enough, imagine adding in environmental obstacles and the chunks of energy will just melt off from your car’s power meter as your car rams into one wall after another.

The odds of you coming out of a hairpin turn during the Emerald Cup in one piece are about the same as you actually winning a NASCAR event tomorrow. And don’t even get me started about facing off against Black Shadow at the game’s end!

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OYtN4poigAs]


Back before Rare made games with cute piñata animals and loveable bears, the developer was responsible for some lethally hard games. No game is more infamously a representation of pure unadulterated evil as Battletoads.

Let’s get one thing straight right off the bat; you simply cannot play Battletoads alone. There are just too many enemies and obstacles for one toad to handle all by his lonesome. However, for some asinine reason, Battletoads allows the two co-op players to attack each other, and if one player dies, both return to the start of the level. In a game with occasional one-hit kills and tightly restricted fighting areas, it is only a matter of time before you hit your friend’s toad, followed by the inevitable retaliation from him, and before you know it the two of you are busy beating the crap out of each other instead of the computer.

Unfortunately, most people didn’t get to see much of the game, as it is also one of the most frustrating games of all time. The game’s third level is infamously one of the toughest levels ever created, and the sheer mention of the game “Turbo Tunnel” is enough to strike fear into the hearts of the many that attempted, but could not overcome this high-speed obstacle course which takes place on speeder bikes…

With no passwords or save features and only three measly continues, you are probably more likely to win the local lottery than you are to see the ending to Battletoads!

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ye-kPP3D27o]

Ninja Gaiden Black

Be forewarned that just by turning on Ninja Gaiden Black, you are likely to have about 15 years taken off your life! From its gang-attacking multiple enemies to the spirit-crushing boss fights that lack any discernible pattern or weakness, this game is pure evil. The Black in Ninja Gaiden’s title clearly stands for the color of its heart, because this thing is as unforgiving as it gets…

After about your 50th death in a row on one of the game’s earlier levels, Ninja Gaiden finally offers you a bone by unlocking the “Ninja Dog” difficulty mode. It can be assumed that calling it “Ninja Bitch” mode was probably too insensitive, but make no mistake about it, this game is fully calling you out. This makes the game easier, but robs the player of their dignity by granting colored ribbons as accessories, and subjecting the hero, Ryu Hayabusa, to verbal abuse from fellow ninja Ayane. Ninja Gaiden Black actually makes the other difficulty levels even harder, and adds a new Master Ninja difficulty level intended for true experts — or the clinically insane. Between the vicious cat-women and decidedly evil challenge modes, Black will have even the most seasoned gamers crying for their mommy!

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XChkfeXQOcI]

Super Ghouls ‘n Ghosts

Unlike everyone’s favorite video game plumber, once Sir Arthur from Super Ghouls ‘n Ghosts commits to a jump, you are stuck. Without any control of his momentum in the air, every time you leave your feet in Super Ghouls ‘n Ghosts, it is an adventure in itself. Considering that you will be jumping a lot in this game, it is not uncommon to land on a pile of newly spawned enemies. Added to these happenstance deaths is the sad reality that the checkpoints in Super Ghouls ‘n Ghosts feel like they are worlds apart.

With deaths happening faster than you can keep track of, you will find yourself standing back at the start of a given level over and over again. Sit down for a few hours with Super Ghouls ‘n Ghosts and you will find yourself wishing you could join the ranks of undead zombies that populate the game.

And you think that’s hard enough?  To get to the actual ending to the game you need to complete the entire thing a second time! We just dare you to not rip the game out of your Super NES after you finally reach the princess and she sends you all the way back to level one…

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ss6PMMmv_94]


Treasure’s classic vertical shmup, Ikaruga, is the spiritual successor to another stellar Treasure shooter, Radiant Silvergun. Treasure is known for difficult games, but Ikaruga introduced a black/white polarity mechanic and a chaining combo system that made it stand out from their other titles. The player ship’s polarity can be changed at any time, and only bullets of the opposite polarity can destroy the vessel, while bullets of the same polarity can actually be absorbed and converted into energy! Destroying three enemies of the same polarity in a row triggers a chain, which will eventually reward the player with an extra life. You’re gonna need all the extra lives you can rack up, as even just playing on normal may prove to be too much for most players! Feel free to switch to easy, though the game won’t save your high score. In other words, easy mode doesn’t count.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EGNSdcy-apU]

Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!!

Yes, this thing exists. And presumably the programmers were instructed to make the game about as difficult as “facing off against Mike Tyson in real life whilst being intoxicated in a  alleyway,” because that’s how insane this game is. Punchout is so hard, in fact, that its name has become a kind of synonym for impossible video games. Because the harder you try to beat this one, the more likely it is that you simply won’t. And that’ll be likely due to some severe stress disorder, which Punch-Out will undoubtably grant you.

You can’t save and you can’t continue: you just have to journey to the very end, clinging to your nerves in a plastic bag, where Mike Tyson – the goliath of final bosses that he is – awaits you. And that’s the end of the game, because few have ever beaten Tyson. “I don’t want nobody to be able to beat me at the end,” Tyson must have said before this thing went into production.

“You hear me? Nobody!” I mean, just look how small your man is compared to the size of Tyson! What chance did that little guy ever have? The answer is none.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hu69QEHhvNo]

Tried any of these games? Any other SUPER hard games you’d like to share about? Please share your suggestions and experiences in the comments!

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